Are you considering a Serval cat? Know the risks of having one. - Sad (2023)

Are you considering a Serval cat? Know the risks of having one. - Sad (1)

If you are familiar with zoology or wildlife, you may have heard of the serval cat.

They look like a leopard and you may be surprised to know that some people have tamed them and kept them as pets.

While there are many admirable qualities in the serval cat, there are also risks associated with keeping a cat as a pet.


What is a Serval Cat?

A serval is a cat.native to African grasslandsit is generally found south of the Sahara desert.

The cat has a slender body and long legs.

Coats are predominantly shades of fawn or orange with black or dark brown markings. The pattern of the coat helps cats disguise themselves when hunting in tall grass.

The Small Cats of Africa website offers an explanation of the history of this exotic cat:1

“The serval was the symbol of the Italian Tomasi family, princess of the island of Lampedusa. Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, wrote the famous Italian novelThe leopard. Despite being known as The Leopard in English, the Italian title actually refers to a serval. The range of the serval in North Africa is near Lampedusa.

Are you considering a Serval cat? Know the risks of having one. - Sad (2)

According to the bookclassic cats, “In 2nd millennium BC Egypt, the serval was an exotic import from sub-Saharan Africa. When depicted in Egyptian art, it was often a gift or trade item from Nubia."2

Some people have more than one catexotic petstoday, but they are limited in number. MostServals can be found in zoos.or big cat rescues, and there's a good reason for that.

The reason? The serval is not a house cat with incredible abilities.


Instead, a serval cat is onewild dyingwith specific needs and inherited instincts to be nurtured in a specific environment.

Are you considering a Serval cat? Know the risks of having one. - Sad (3)

10 risks of having a Serval cat

As explained above, this is not Superman's version of a house cat.

the service isA wild animal, and for this reason several states have prohibited its ownership or require specific permits to contain one.

There are many risks associated with keeping a serval cat as a pet.

Before you decide to adopt a serval cat as a pet, seriously consider the following:

1. Serval cats need zoo-like areas to explore, swim, hunt, run, and occasionally climb.

These habitats can be expensive to create, and keeping an area that is too small or an indoor-only option prevents a serval cat from expending all its energy or indulging its natural instincts.3

As a commenter on this article, J Freed says, “They're smart. When we moved into our new home, [our serval cat] ran away immediately. We picked her up 3 days after a notice led us to her location. The enclosures must be robust, offer comfort, hard play and security”.

EraThey areCollected pet food?

Check now: blue buffalo science diet Purina Welfare 4 health dog transport frisones I love nature See more than 200 brands...


2. Serval cats need a special diet.

This is not a cat you can feed.meow mixand assume that their nutritional needs are met.

According to an exotic cattery owner who has had several serval cats since 2012, "A serval cat needs variety in its diet, just like in the wild."

She suggests a variety of meats "such as chicken and turkey neck/back/legs/gizzards, mice, chickens, beef, a variety of birds such as quail/duck/partridge, and smaller prey such as mice/rats/rabbits."

Other foods he recommends include "various types of shellfish such as cod, salmon, snapper, sardines, basa, shrimp, lobster, crab, shellfish; and eggs, cheese, oils, fruits and vegetables, and grass.4

3. Serval cats are not your typical lap cats.

Of course they can be affectionate and are not usually aggressive towards people, but remember that it is still a wild animal.

They have inherited basic instincts that they must adhere to.

Are you considering a Serval cat? Know the risks of having one. - Sad (5)

4. Serval cats are considered wild animals and are restricted by law in several US states and other countries.

If you decide to get a serval cat and then decide it doesn't work out, it can be hard to give up that animal.

This is because the organizations or people who receive the animal must also have the corresponding permits.


5. Serval cats like to hunt, at night.

Keep in mind that a serval cat weighs an average of 29 pounds.5

Imagine that your serval is playing or hunting at 3 am. and those 29 poundsabout you in bedin the middle of the dream

6. Servants like to mark their territory.

This includes urinating on household items andyou. If you.

Servals can't always go to the most domestic cats, and they need a much larger litter box than usual.

As someone named Lolo noted below, Lolo's serval cat "was doing quite well with his waste habits, but he still liked to urinate on things around the house. If I said NO, he would hit me HARD. He was extremely stubborn." .

7. Service jacks are not recommended for families with small children.

They play with their teeth and claws and can be very rough with children or view them as toys or prey. This is unlikely, but it is possible.6,7

As Lolo noted again: “We had a baby, that's when things really got worse. [Our house cat] I HATE the baby. He hit us and hissed after we picked up the baby. We had to keep them apart 24/7. It was exhausting."

And then, says Lolo, "it happened." The serval "attacked our baby."

"The baby had teeth marks on her temple and next to her eye," says Lolo. "It was the last straw. He probably saw the baby as prey and/or a threat. Either way, we couldn't risk our son or visitors. Fortunately, we found a good home for him."

Are you considering a Serval cat? Know the risks of having one. - Sad (6)

8. Play Serval cats - difficult.

They can drop large objects, scratch and tear furniture, jump high and crash into things on their many excursions.

Cats are strong and have quick reflexes, even using their teeth and claws during play.

Also, scratching is much worse in serval cats. Their power is much higher than that of a normal cat and even if they don't deal damage, they can only cause it by playing.

"Servals have a bite force of 172 Newton in dogs, while feral domestic cats have a bite force of 56 Newton," notes a 2016 study.Queensland Government Safety Report. "Because of this greater bite force, servals can subdue larger prey than feral cats."

9. Serval cats do not chase their prey like leopards and other wild cats.

They listen and wait for them to finish, then jump into the air.8and land on its prey.

After capturing or incapacitating them with their weight, they usually take a fatal bite to the neck.

Servals are considered the best hunters in the feline world, with a mortality rate close to 50%.9(The mortality rate for a domestic cat is around 10%).

10. The average life expectancy of a serval cat is about 22 years.10

That's longer than the average house cat (15 years11), so you should understand the responsibility of caring for a wild animal for a long time before you decide to buy one.

Are you considering a Serval cat? Know the risks of having one. - Sad (7)

Should I have a Serval cat?

There are many reasons why you should reconsider buying a serval cat.

While some of them can be clingy, they don't do well with family changes and need space to indulge their natural instincts.

Don't confuse space with efficiency - just because you have multiple acres doesn't mean you can drop a serval on the property and they'll take care of themselves.

There are so many cats and other animals.waiting for houses in hostelsand rescues across the country and the world. So consider giving one a home before you take the Serval Cat risks described above.

If you simply love serval cats and need a solution for exotic cats, visit uslocal zooo onebig cat rescue.

There are also many videos of serval cats. Here is one of them:

Take your time and read the comments below this article from people who have experience keeping multiple cats as pets.

Of course, serval cats can make great pets for the right families, but don't take this decision lightly.


  1. "Serval (Leptailurus serval)". Cats for Africa.
  2. Engels, Donald W.Classic Cats: The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Cat. Routledge, 2015.
  3. "About the servants." sheets A1.
  4. "Serval cat food". Facebook message September 18, 2016. Filed Here:
  5. "Anage entry for Leptailurus Serval". Genomic resources of human aging.
  6. Fixer, Hayley. "An African servant attacks a child at a birthday party." ABC 57 News. October 29, 2018.
  7. SAULNY, Susan. "How are you baby? Wow!"The New York Times newspaper. May 12, 2005.
  8. Fraser, Andrew F.Feline behavior and well-being. CABI. 2012.
  9. Canniff, Tessa. Leptailurus serval. Animal diversity web. 2011.
  10. Grzimek, Bernhard.Grzimeks encyclopedia of animal life. Editorial McGraw-Hill. 1990.
  11. Excuse me, Melvin. “How long do cats live? Data on the average life of cats”. Catster. July 3, 2018.

* * *

This article on keeping multiple cats as pets was originally published in 2012 and is updated regularly. It was last checked for accuracy and updated on March 21, 2022.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Last Updated: 05/19/2023

Views: 6113

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Birthday: 1997-10-17

Address: Suite 835 34136 Adrian Mountains, Floydton, UT 81036

Phone: +3571527672278

Job: Manufacturing Agent

Hobby: Skimboarding, Photography, Roller skating, Knife making, Paintball, Embroidery, Gunsmithing

Introduction: My name is Lakeisha Bayer VM, I am a brainy, kind, enchanting, healthy, lovely, clean, witty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.